Dear Little Girl…
Dear Little Girl,
On this day, your official day around the world, I’ve come to share some secrets. Some might sound very scary, and hopefully others will be the best news you ever hear. That is, unfortunately, an apt metaphor for your future as a girl.
The road ahead of you will be, on its best day, challenging, and on its worst, seemingly impossible — and I promise you that I’m here, looking out for you. Whether you are new to this planet, or hiding in the recesses of a grown woman’s mind, I am speaking to you from a place of love, compassion, and infinite possibility.
The world is going to ask a lot of you. It will ask you to carry the weight of your emotions and passion, but not let them show too much. To put yourself first, but not so it puts anyone else out. To stand up for yourself, but not too loudly. To be perfect, but not uptight. To look perfect, but not plastic — and perfect will depend upon a given group’s standards. This will be a hard one.
Some people might call you bossy. Listen very carefully: That means you are a natural leader. Take it as a compliment.
Some people might call you sensitive. Listen very carefully: That means you have compassion. The world needs a lot of that.
You might be chastised for choosing a career over creating a family. You might be considered unworthy because you chose to create a family instead of pursuing a career. You will be expected to somehow master both if you try to play the game of juggling both.
Sometimes men will put their hands on you and tell you to keep it a secret. Others might beat you in an attempt to discipline you. To control you. To control your power. Because you have more power than you know — and they don’t want you to know it.
Human beings will both celebrate and damn your existence. Those who celebrate you — stick with them. Surround yourself with people who honor and lift your spirit. Who bring out the best in you. Because some will want to own, buy, and sell you. Others will want to steal you. Some will give you away, because they don’t think you’re worth anything. I’m here to tell you they are wrong.
I want you to know that you are the reason I get out of bed in the morning. Yours is the soul that compels me to plant my feet on the floor every day, ready to go to battle, and show you that you already have all the power you need, and that you matter.
You matter so much that I’ve created a 50-year plan to address the problems you face, and I probably won’t live to see all of that through. But I might.
And perhaps one day we will stand together, you and I, in acknowledgement of your place in this world. Where you are so critically important to everything that happens in it.
So please do not be disheartened when the words you hear feel like an assault on who you are. When the words do not resonate with the truth you know about yourself. No one gets to define you.
I want you to stand strong in the face of those words, and speak truth to power. Stand tall in the face of those who want to hurt you. Those who will tear you down to feel strong. Those who will try to chip away at your soul.
Because here’s the toughest part of all: No one is coming. And at first that will be hard to hear, because it might seem very lonely. No one is coming to save you, fix you, fix it, give you permission, tell you that you are enough.
But it’s also the best news in the world, because you ARE enough to take care of yourself. You are enough. Just like the sun, you are an infinite source of your own power, infinitely sustainable and renewable. You don’t need saving, or fixing, and you sure as hell don’t need permission to exist and thrive. And for those moments when the road gets difficult, I’ve made you a tool belt. Use it well. We must be sure to keep your precious inner flame lit.
You are so much more than the world wants you to be, and I want you to know that I see you. I honor you. And I fight for you.
Originally published at Jennifer Iannolo.